Sprint

From the better-late-than-never department, Sprint has issued a press release officially opposing the planned AT&T purchase of T-Mobile.  There have been rumors of a Sprint/T-mobile merger for more than a year, which either weren't true or just didn't pan out, but Sprint believes a T-Mobile/AT&T merger "would entrench AT&T’s and Verizon’s duopoly control over the wireless market."

Sprint doesn't address what will be AT&T's biggest ally in the fight -- the fact that the plan would enable mobile broadband to 95 percent of the people in the US, including rural areas.  That's big on our President's agenda, and sure to be more than just a bullet point when AT&T presents to the Dept. of justice.

I'm a T-Mobile subscriber, but at this point I don't care who I make the check out to, as  this is likely the only way I'll ever see LTE where I live.  Let's just hope it doesn't end up costing me an arm and a leg.  Hit the break for the full press release.

Sprint Opposes Proposed AT&T Acquisition of T-Mobile USA
Transaction would reduce competition and harm consumers
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), March 28, 2011 - Sprint Nextel [NYSE:S], the nation’s third largest wireless provider and a leader in advanced wireless broadband technologies, announced today its opposition to AT&T’s proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA.
The transaction, which requires the approval of the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, and will likely spark a host of hearings in the U.S. Congress, would reverse nearly three decades of actions by the U.S. government and the courts that modernized and opened U.S. communications markets to competition. The wireless industry has sparked unprecedented levels of competition, innovation, job creation and investment for the American economy, all of which could be undone by this transaction.
AT&T and Verizon are already by far the largest wireless providers. If approved, the proposed acquisition would create a combined company that would be almost three times the size of Sprint in terms of wireless revenue and would entrench AT&T’s and Verizon’s duopoly control over the wireless market. The wireless industry moving forward would be dominated overwhelmingly by two vertically integrated companies with unprecedented control over the U.S. wireless post-paid market, as well as the availability and price of key inputs, such as backhaul and access needed by other wireless companies to compete.
“Sprint urges the United States government to block this anti-competitive acquisition,” said Vonya McCann, senior vice president, Government Affairs. “This transaction will harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it. As the first national carrier to roll out 4G services and handsets and the carrier that brought simple unlimited pricing to the marketplace, Sprint stands ready to compete in a truly dynamic marketplace. So on behalf of our customers, our industry and our country, Sprint will fight this attempt by AT&T to undo the progress of the past 25 years and create a new Ma Bell duopoly.”
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 49.9 million customers at the end of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint atwww.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
 

Reader comments

Sprint officially opposes AT&T's purchase of T-Mobile

57 Comments

Not awesome, the more these companies start merging the more the consumers will be hurt. With less providers these companies can possibly put other providers out of business. Then once that is done they can jack up the rate and there will be no competitive pricing.

If Verizon and AT&T are the only ones left, then god help us all, they'll be charging more than an arm and a leg.

Right now they can't do that cause little guys, sprint and tmobile are offering better deals so they must stay competitive.

that's just my opinion.

Indeed. At&t already got in trouble with the whole monopoly thing and now they are going to be the only gsm carrier in the states? They are going to buy out tmobile, lower their prices to get rid of Sprint then raise them again. Big Red doesn't care because along with the hefty bill their consumers pay, they at least put it back in their network. The only thing good that will come out of this with Sprint is Sales are going to temporarily increase because of the disgruntled Tmobile customers.

I think so. There had been rumors floating around for YEARS about sprint and T-Mobile becoming one in the same. I think they are getting antsy about their product from being bought out.

If Big Red had officially said "please do not let this go through" i'd be a tad worried.

Glad someone has come out against this merger besides every tmobile customer I have talked to. It seems like after this Merger AT&T will just need to rename the company Mountain Bell and the band will be back together completely.

boo-hoo...Sprint needs to suck it up and stop whining because T-Mobile chose AT&T over you. Provide better service and more service towers. Just like the million others, I left Sprint 4 years ago due to their lack of coverage and stagnate phones.

I don't' see this as being an anti-competitive acquisition. Yes, it would make AT&T a larger company, just like it would have Sprint and T-Mobile USA merged.

Fewer choices means less competition in price and less need for innovation to find the next best thing. ECON101. If the government didn't deregulate the telephone industry, I'm sure the cell phone wouldn't have even been invented. We would be still using our house phones.

Exactly, what i've been saying. This is anti-competitive, you talking about #1(att) and #3(t-mobile) providers merging. Increasing the lead in customers over #2(Verizon) and also #4(sprint)

regardless of which provider you like, the fact that there are more providers challenges all providers to bid for customers by placing their products at a competitive price.

This leaves 1 provider offering competitive pricing. Sprint. if sprint goes down because they can not compete because they do not have money like Verizon and ATT. Then you are left w/ the 2 most expensive providers ATT and Verizon. You can kiss competitive pricing out the window.

just common sense.

If your theory is correct, people could flock to Sprint in droves allowing them to boost investment and grab better phones. My point is, it's too early to tell what will happen. I'm a T-Mobile customer and may very well jump to Sprint if At&t try to raise prices on me after a merger..which I fully expect them to do.

Sprint and T-Mobile merging is a lot safer then ATT and TMobile.
At least if the first two merged then you would have 3 companies going at it.

Now it would be two big guns and the little engine that could.
I will keep the politics out of it.

I am a spammer!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Captcha for the win!

After how Sprint handled the Nextel "merger" why would anyone from T-Mobile wish for their fate to be Sprint's hands?What? Add another incompatable cellular technology? Sprint says "Bring Em' On......."

I agree with Sprint's statement although I believe their true intent isn't as patriotic as they make it out to be. I do think the buyout would cause problems for many. I mean, lets be honest . . . People choose T-Mobile for their rates. To have the company with the most expensive plans buyout the company with the least expensive plans would really suck. It might, however, have T-Mobile customers jumping ship to Sprint, the next best thing.

Sprint buying T-Mobile would allow Sprint to be more more equal to AT&T and Verizon but AT&T or Verizon buying T-Mobile would give either of them to large of a market share and would not be good for anyone, I would be suprised if this goes through.

T-Mobile USA's German parent company, Deutsche Telekom (which at this point is more like Douche Telekom), has been looking to unload the company for a while now.

Sprint didn't come through (probably due in part to incompatibilities between the 2 networks), and AT&T did. Both are GSM companies, and are more compatible than a CDMA company like Sprint with T-Mobile.

My new slogan is:
AT&T to the T-Mobile customers: "Come to the darkside, we have cookies, you paid for them anyways!"

And Im not sure how accurate this is but I believe I read somewhere that Douche Telekom also owns part of at&t. if so its a win-win-win for them.

I heard somewhere that they also get 8% in their new stock as well as the $39 billion. I think that I probably would have caved as well...

"I'm a T-Mobile subscriber, but at this point I don't care who I make the check out to, as this is likely the only way I'll ever see LTE where I live. Let's just hope it doesn't end up costing me an arm and a leg."

AT&T = Arm & a leg! lol

I have both T-Mobile & Verizon. T-Mobile is cheaper, but their coverage here is 2G. Verizon is more, but I get 3G here. If I had to choose between AT&T & Verizon, I would choose Verizon all day long!

Why? Because for $5.00 more per month over the exact same plan on AT&T, Verizon gives me unlimited 3G/4G data instead of just 2GB of data for that $5.00 per month savings on AT&T.

"If" the merger/buyout goes thru, all we can hope for is: that AT&T will have more towers & spectrum to offer us customers unlimited data again to remain competitive with Verizon & Sprint (and some of those other smaller providers). But, I really don't see that happening.

This is spam? Really Captcha? Ugh!

how is this release late ('better-late-than-never')? this is not gonna happen over night. if anything this is early. It hasn't even been reviewed yet.

Why would the companies have to combine to equal 95% rural broadband coverage when the companies separately would equal the same but be cheaper for the consumer?

BTW - This site has the absolute worst spam catching mechanism in history.

I agree with this the only thing I see is an increase in prices across the board with the big boys having less to compete with the sky's the limit. Once Red and Blue raise there prices then Sprint can comfortably raise there prices so long as they are still the cheapest. It would be great for coverage and LTE expansion which is great as long as you don't mind selling organs to pay your phone bill.

att and tmobile merging is not going to "enable mobile broadband to 95 percent..."

And I have no idea why editor thinks that this will give him LTE. You're going to get LTE from vzw long before anything comes out of ATT if you're in a rural area.

This is just the two crappy companies merging and hoping to become better than the best. Too bad it doesn't work that way. If tmobile does get sold to att successfully, it will likely become even worse since both companies will be tied up with their internal affairs.

Because I have T-mobile's HSPA+ service here now. AT&T plans to convert this spectrum to LTE, using the current footprint.

I'll never have Verizon LTE, because I have no Verizon service. I've yet to hear Verizon planning on expanding their existing network footprint, so I'm out of luck, just like millions of others in "rural" america (I'm 50 miles from Washington, DC) that Verizon doesn't cover.

It's another year at least before AT&T gets that tmobile spectrum. Anyone familiar with how quickly AT&T rolls out 3g in rural areas is not going to be holding their breath for LTE for at minimum another year after that.

Verizon has 700mhz spectrum over the entire united states, including some in Alaska. They will surely have LTE service in your location before AT&T will.

I already have 3G service from everyone (including US Cellular, Virgin Mobile, MetroPCS, and Boost) except Verizon. A two year wait for AT&T is still much better than a wait for something that's never going to happen. Verizon's official line is that they have no plans to extend their network to my area, and it will remain in their "extended network coverage" (roaming on US Cellular).

Why does the fact that US Cellular owns the spectrum in your area for 3g mean verizon isn't going to provide LTE service there?

This deal closed quickly. I don't know if anyone else watched Mad Money during CTIA, but Jim Cramer had Dan Hesse on and when asked about this acquisition, he was surprised and caught off guard that it happened so quickly. His first response was the fact that the government would even allow it. He didn't think the government would allow the top two purchase smaller competitors.

There is more than just pricing at hand here. Although that will be the direct impact on the consumer, the others that will affect smaller mobile providers would be Exclusives that the provider would bid on. Little things like this can have an impact on smaller providers as customers will pack up and head to the big providers just to get the Premier phones that only the large providers can make available. A perfect example is all the people that jumped to AT&T just for the iPhone and dealt with the proven poor network. And then the same happened when VZW got the Iphone. People deferred AT&T for a better network. That is how something as simple as exclusives can control the market alone.

There is more at stake then just price hikes. But that is the more concerning issue to many right now.

I don't think Sprint has anything to lose. I think most of the people on T-mobile are there because of the cheap plans. Sprint offers similar plans that compete with T-mobile. If they merge, Sprint could get millions of subscribers because of ATT high rates. In the long run it could hurt Sprint because of spectrum. But sprint has its old nextel band they could switch to for 4g.

Wait, where did my post go? You know, the one where I pointed out the lack of editing even on the title of this article? Did that get removed, because if so that is a whole new kind of effed up Jerry.

I didn't touch or read any post. I generally ignore "ZOMG A TYPO" nonsense from the comments, unless they would come from Buddha or Christ. I call that my glass house theory.

I personally see this in two perspectives the first is as an AT&T customer I am going to get a huge network, with pentaband 3G phones and proper quad-bad phones I could get to use the hole network. Also I get to part of the Largest network in America and thats a nice bragging point and getting LTE sooner with more coverage thats fantastic, that is the positive things about this. The negative is that I have been thinking of switching to T-Mobile because they have better Android phones , WP phones , even better Nokia phones. T-Mobile also has less crape-ware, and the cheapest planes and still have "unlimited" data and now if this goes threw I for all practical prepuces don't have choices because I re-fuse to switch to a CMDA network because I need to be able to switch phones. Also AT&T's policy on Android sucks no updates yet and not many good phones and they lock down the side loading. So overall I rather have a smaller network with the problems that I have with the ability to switch my carrier because heck were I live my coverage is great under AT&T I can wait for LTE but I hate AT&Ts policies on Android and Data/tethering. And I too don't want Ma Bell to return.

Sprint has nothing to worry about there brand is alive and well and represents android well. This merger IS NO GOOD FOR THE INDUSTRY.. Sprint would BENEFIT if this merger did happen more so because then they would be the only AFFORDABLE CARRIER LEFT STANDING ALL ALONE. Current customers on tmobile should no be forced to become part of At&t and they will turn to sprint before the merger ever took place. All At&t wants IS TMOBILE'S SPECTRUM and to DISTROY ANDROID as far as I am concerned every android device on there network is capped or throttled as well as features taken out of handsets all in an attempt to throttle android. Google will not allow At&t to bring down android with there tactics. I can't believe at&t has any customers and I bet those customers are iphone users cause that is the only device working on that carrier network anyway... THIS MERGER WILL BE DENIED

At&t... WILL NEVER BE SPRINT nor will they ever care anything about android as sprint does. If your on At&t where you get RIPPED OFF come join a true UNLIMITED DATA CARRIER WITH THE BEST ANDROID DEVICES ON THE MARKET.

Good luck with this Sprint. I am a loyal customer, but why would our current executive branch of government oppose this? It is one step closer to government control of wireless service. Simply allow the players to eat each other, then demand 95% coverage of wireless service and "fair" pricing to the "community." If the massive, capitalistic monopoly can't deliver, then capitalism is not working. Can't see the government being opposed to a takeover at that point. It's all part of the "plan."

~Sigh~

I have one of those a buddy told me that another body told him stories. One of the VP's for the Utah market told a client of mine that on Friday, March 18th Sprint and T-mobile had reached a verbal agreement that Sprint would purchase T-mobile for $20 Billion. Then over the weekend AT&T jumped in and offered $39 Billion.

To me there are several things I find wrong with the merger.

1) Duoply is not the best way to promote compition. If you take the two highest pricest companies controling the cellular industry the price will go up for everyone

2) If the "President" wants American's to have access to data then let free enterprise develope it. (then again this current president will just bail out AT&T if they end up in financial trouble)

3) Anyone remember a little thing called At&T to Cingular to AT&T. If it wasn't for the iPhone AT&T would be no longer right now. They were so cashed strapped that their service sucked and they couldn't build out the there network. If they are willing to OVERPAY for t-mobile I think this puts them in a very bad finacial postion in which they will be in they are acquiring assests that they will not beable to devlope for several year. They also have no iPhone type of device that will spawn the influx of income that it once did. (look at Verizon and the IPhone failure - people that really wanted the iPhone already had migrated to it)

That being said $39 Billion for Spectrum is a lot of money. Over time as T-mobile customers are forced to pay AT&T rates many will defect to Sprint or small regional carriers. T-Mobiles primary client is all about the Price and will leave.

In my opionin this is a very big gamble for a AT&T and consumers.

Also to add to the Rumor Mill. Sprint will be switching to LTE. The same source mentioned that they will be launching in about 5 pilot cities to see if the software upgrade works to turn WiMax to LTE. They will be branding the LTE in those 5 cities as something like Sprint PowerVision.

With this on the herizon and most phones going to a VoIP system in the next 5 years it will all be about the data speed.

AT&T will have no $$$ to move from HSPA+ to LTE.

You're referring to this alleged "Project Leapfrog" I take it? As a T-Mobile customer, I've suddenly become much more interested in that rumor since AT&T made their announcement.

Are you delusional lol At&t won't have money to go LTE you sound so ignorant saying these things. For one this deal saves ATT over 8 billion a year because all the towers and infrastructures are there. The 1700 aws spectrum from tmobile along with the 700 mhz ATT spectrum is being allocated for LTE. The LTE will be out in half of the original 5 year plan because of this acquisition. Please educate yourself when you make up rumors.
Now on to the hypocrite Sprint the one and only reason they oppose this deal is because deutsche Telecom picked ATT because of their better plan and compatible network. All you cry babies don't get it. It was either get bought or shut down tmobile wasn't long for this world without ATT buying them.

A few talking points.

-Does ATT have the revenue flow to overpay for T-Mo and still work on LTE rollouts? Probably.

-Would a T-Mo and Sprint merger have been successful, given previous experience integrating? IMHO, no. This would be combining two comparably sized yet very different techs, and would have been even more difficult than basically keeping nextel as a side project.

Would this all be very different in five years when everyone is much more on board with LTE? Yup. And in five years, when it IS easier for companies to merge techs, that's when we should all be very concerned about dwindling choices.

Should Sprint worry? Yes. Even though they will pick up customers initially when ATT begins jerking around T-Mo customers, lots of Sprint's new business comes from churn as T-Mo customers "upgrade" to Sprint (I use the term loosely). Customers carried over to a "top tier carrier" like ATT/Verizon (I use the term very loosely) will be less likely to leave. I know and you know that Sprint rocks, but this is about millions of customers not just those in the know.

Will ATT and T-Mo customers benefit outside of potential pricing issues? Maybe. If ATT provides a smooth transition for different GSM bands, phones, etc. Key issue in my mind is how smooth will their transition be from T-Mo HSPA+ and overlap GSM and yada yada to ATT/T-Mo combined LTE. Anyone who was with Cingular/ATT/Suncom or other regionals that got scooped up have any input there?

Will the CAPTCHA ever improve? Nope.

Wow, there is so much that needs to be said about this deal.

To those saying that ATT is over paying for T-Mobile:
I disagree. They would immediately be able to solve the vast majority of there capacity and lack of spectrum issues overnight. The first step would be (and I am not sure how this would work on GSM, never had a GSM carrier) to basicl allow complete and total mutual network roaming. In Major cities ATT customers would suddenly have greater capacity. T-Mobile customers would get better building penetration (depending on where they are of course.) T-mobile already roams on ATT in Rural areas but it would be even easier to do that now. (I may be wrong about this, but the sudden change in T-Mobiles coverage map a few months back is indicative of this). So, in the short term, customers on both networks would benefit. However, I am not sure that the plans would suddenly become an issue for former T-Mobile customers. When cell phone companies merge, the billing system is basically the last thing to get "combined". Now might be the best time ever to get on T-Mobile. If I get a phone now I might be "grandfathered" into a plan that will no longer be available to new customers in 18 months or so.

Leaving that alone for the moment, the major issue with this merger is that it crates a Duopoly. 2 companies controlling 79% of the market is ALWAYS BAD FOR THE CUSTOMER. This has always been true and it will be true if this happens. Yes, sprint would be the national "low cost leader" and your last option for a National Carrier BUT this would also give VZW & ATT UNPARALLELED buying power with the manufactures. Within a tear or two, Sprint would not be able to offer competitive hand sets. Without some help from Google they would become second rate as far as offering the best devices.

However, lately it seems that monopolies and cooporate consolidation is the way all of America is going. It wilkl be a sad day if the FCC allows this to happen with out forcing the new entity to divest massive amounts of Spectrum rto Sprint. Now, if that happens Sprint MIGHT be able to stay competitive....but who knows.

This does not solve any problems for ATT and creates many more.

This would by no means happen overnight. By your references I am taking it that you are either a Sprint or Verizon customer. T-Mobile and AT&T can not roam 100% like we can because their phones are on separate frequencies. Both carriers use the same frequency range as the older EDGE network but their 3G networks (which is what are of concern here) are no two completely different handsets. T-Mobile handsets do not have the radios for AT&T 3G and vice versa.

Best case scenario (for AT&T anyway) would be to have this approved in about a year. They would then need to honor all TMo customer contracts that were signed before the merger which means in some cases up to two years. They would not be able to do anything with T-Mobile's spectrum for at least 3 years because doing so would render every single T-Mo 3g handset useless. That is unless they were willing to replace every single TMo customer's handset for free with a compatible one and deal with dozens if not hundreds of lawsuits filed with disgruntled T-Mobile customers dissatisfied with the switch and who did not consider that to be fulfilling their contracts.

So by now we are talking mid 2014 before they can even START their LTE network on the new spectrum. VZW will have their entire network completed close to a year before that.

Verizon was barely able to buy the amount of Alltel that it did, so I can see the FCC preventing the at&t/t-mobile USA deal from going through. I could also see a Sprint/t-mobile USA merger, wherein both companies update to LTE going forward. They would both sell their old phones at first, but only introduce Sprint LTE phones from the merger forward.

Just another example of AT&T reclaiming it's old glory. And that isn't a good thing. Anybody remember the Baby Bells? They were created when the gov't broke up AT&T's monopoly in local phone service coast to coast. Now big blue has swallowed them up again. I was a Bellsouth customer for years and quite happy with them. AT&T bought them and it was down the tubes in a few short months. How bad you ask? Since 2002 I have waited for at the least DSL availability at my home. Bellsouth was about to roll it out in my area then the buyout. And still nothing. Oh and I don't exactly live in the sticks. I'm less than a mile from the city limits of my hometown and my property is within walking distance of the local high school that has a T3 line. My story is similar with Cingular who I was with and then in swoops AT&T. Well you get the picture. Verizon, for better or worse, is the only carrier that remembers this part of NC is even on the map. And they are rapidly deploying LTE in this state. AT&T still has no 3G coverage for 2/3 of NC. And some of you think it's a good thing they want to gobble up T Mobile? If they can't handle their own business any better than this you T Mobile peeps should run... FAST!

One thing I wonder. If Sprint somewhat silently moves to LTE and basically stops rolling out Wimax what about customers who buy phones under contracts that have a promise of future roll outs of Wimax. Who's left holding the bag for that, customers? Now you have a phone that doesn't use what was to be their 4g.

As an At&t customer, it just sounds like Sprint's sour grapes because they didn't the deal before At&t. Even if this deal doesn't go through, it's still good for At&t and T-mobile customers. T-mobile gets more coverage with roaming on At&t, 3 Billion dollar breakup fee, and At&t gets more bandwidth. Which part of that is bad for the consumers?

Anyway, Sprint should be more active and more willing when it comes to negotiation. If you can't put the money where your goal is, there will never be a deal.

Sprint and Google seem to be planning many new features exclusive to Sprint. What if Google buys Sprint and creates the Ultimate Android experience!